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Topics - John Nelson

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Connecting ACA Routes / North Lakes connection to Lake Erie
« on: December 28, 2019, 07:17:24 pm »
Does the North Lakes route still connect to the Lake Erie Connector? It seems that the North Lakes route was rerouted a few years ago to stay closer to the shore of Lake Michigan, and thus no longer comes close to the western end of the Lake Erie Connector. There is a lot of information on the ACA web site that says that those two routes connect, but it doesn't seem that they do. I also note that the ACA still sells a map set that includes the Northern Tier, North Lakes and Lake Erie Connector.

McGrath State Beach, between Ventura and Oxnard, is closed for all camping and day-use effective Sunday August 10, 2014 at Noon until further notice. The park has closed due to flooding, which is impacting all areas of the park.

For current status, see:

or call (805) 968-1033.

Routes / Pacific Coast: Vancouver or Bellingham?
« on: April 28, 2014, 01:11:05 pm »
I'm planning to do the Pacific Coast route this summer, north to south. The official start of this route is in Vancouver. I've noticed, however, that flying to Vancouver is more expensive and there don't seem to be any bicycle-friendly airlines that go there (only United and Air Canada offer non-stop service from Denver). On the other hand, I can fly to Bellingham, WA for a bit over half the cost on bicycle-friendly Frontier. Considering the luggage costs of transporting my bicycle, I think flying United to Vancouver would be well over twice the cost of flying Frontier to Bellingham.

If I fly to Bellingham, I would ride the 21 miles up to the border before turning around and heading south.

Anybody else faced similar concerns when doing the Pacific Coast, and which way did you decide? Is it worth the extra cost and border-crossing hassle to go to Vancouver?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Temporary ACA Route Road Closures / TransAmerica Trail, Section 9
« on: February 06, 2014, 03:14:22 pm »
According to this article, a bridge will be out in Ste. Genevieve County in far eastern Missouri on Route P over Mill Creek from March 24 to July 1, 2014, but cyclists will be able to cross the creek anyway without detour. It's good to see the Missouri DOT taking bicyclists' needs into account, and even further, acknowledging the special circumstances of the TransAmerica Trail.

Routes / Route Mileages
« on: February 24, 2012, 05:37:35 pm »
I'm curious as to how map mileages are listed when there are alternative routes. I just got my new Cyclosource catalog in the mail, and I looked up the "Northern Tier + North Lakes" route. So it tells me that if I buy the complete set, it is 4651 miles. Then each of the 12 maps in the set are listed individually, each with a mileage. If I add up the 12 mileages of the individual maps, I only get 4399 miles, 252 miles short of the set total. Now I know that there are several options on this route (e.g., (1) you can go to Waterton Lakes NP in Canada or go through East Glacier to Cut Bank, (2) you can go through Grand Rapids MN or take the shortcut to Dalbo, (3) you can ferry across Lake Michigan from Ludington MI or go around the north side and cross the Mackinac Strait). I also know that the maps contain roads you won't need if taking the North Lakes alternative (e.g., the last half of North Lakes Section 3 takes you back to the NT in Indiana, which you don't need if you're taking the Lake Erie Connector).

So, to refine my question, what do the mileages shown for map segments or map sets include? Are they a sum of all the roads mapped, including the alternatives? Do they count the shortest alternative? The longest alternative? The "normal" alternative? And how do you come up with 4651 miles for the Northern Tier + North Lakes map set.


Routes / Fort Erie, NY?
« on: January 20, 2012, 10:52:52 am »
Just noticed on this image, there is a label for "Fort Erie, NY". As far as I know, there is no such place. If you update this image, you might want to change it to "Fort Erie, ON".

It appears on this page:

Routes / Is the NT a traffic nightmare?
« on: December 26, 2011, 12:03:21 am »
I did the TransAm in 2010, and am planning to do the Northern Tier in 2012. I've been reading the segment descriptions of the NT in the Cyclosource catalog. The descriptions sound like a traffic nightmare, with cautions on every segment. Consider these quotes:
  • The 4-lane highway that heads east to the mainland is very busy.
  • SR 200 east of Sandpoint carries both recreational and commercial traffic so ride it cautiously.
  • expect to encounter logging trucks.
  • U.S. 93, which the route uses from Eureka to Whitefish, can have moderate to heavy traffic since it's a main thoroughfare into Canada.
  • Glacier Park traffic is heavy during the summer.
  • During the summer it gets heavy use from recreational vehicles.
  • There is heavy truck traffic on the portions of U.S. 2 used by the route.
  • there are a few stretches that demand caution. Traffic increases wherever the route crosses the river.
  • Traffic can be heavy on U.S. 61
  • Traffic increases around Muscatine
  • Traffic does increase during harvest
  • Areas in Indiana get busier when the weather gets warmer, especially on weekends.
    you will experience urban riding conditions so ride defensivly.
  • in places you ride U.S. 1 which carries very heavy recreational traffic. Mount Desert Island roads also have a high amount of tourist traffic
Contrast this to the segment descriptions of the TransAm, which hardly mention traffic at all. Was the person who wrote up the NT just more pessimistic, or is the NT traffic really worse than the TA traffic?

Routes / NT vs NT+Lakes
« on: December 25, 2011, 11:41:19 pm »
The ACA sells two different maps sets for the Northern Tier. There's the traditional Northern Tier route (dipping south of Chicago and running along the south shore of Lake Erie), and there's the Northern Tier variation which uses parts of the North Lakes route and the Erie Connector (crossing Lake Michigan by ferry and running along the north shore of Lake Erie). I'm not going to ask which route is "better" because I'm sure there are compelling reasons for both. What I am interested in is what factors would be pertinent for selecting one route or the other.

I've noticed that the ACA guided tour of the Northern Tier has chosen to use the Northern Tier + Lakes Route variation. Can anybody tell me why that route was chosen over the traditional NT route?

Routes / Map date for NT, section 7
« on: December 24, 2011, 01:16:05 pm »
The Cyclosource catalog lists the current date of the Northern Tier Section 7 map as 2007.

Current Printed Version: 2007

However, the addenda page shows an addendum for the 2009 version of this map.

NORTHERN TIER ADDENDA, Section 7 (BC-1303 2009)

Which is correct?

Merry Christmas!

Routes / Lamont, WY
« on: August 22, 2011, 03:26:14 pm »
On the TransAmerica route, section 5, map 58, the addenda now shows that a new restaurant has opened in Lamont, WY to replace Grandma's. Here are some additional details. I ate there two weeks ago.

The new restaurant name is "Anna-Lope Cafe". It opened on May 8, 2011. Its hours are M-F 6-8, Sa 7-8 and Su 7-3. Its phone number is 307-324-9080. The sign on the road still says "Grandma's" so you'll still have to look for that (there isn't anything else in Lamont so it's unlikely you'll miss it).

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